2016-2017 Winner of Best Jazz Band

We chatted with Church On Monday bandleader Elias Haslanger, the 2016-2017 Winner of Best Jazz Band to find out his thoughts about the Live Music Capital of the World and the Austin Music Awards. Stream or download Elias’ latest recording, LIVE at the Gallery, here!

Who do you want to see perform at the AMAs?

I’d really like to see a good local jazz band perform. Of course, I’d love it if Church on Monday could perform but Austin is full of great jazz musicians so here are some suggestions: Ephraim Owens, Red Young, Dr. James Polk, Justin Vasquez.

What do you wish for the Austin music scene?

I’ve been performing in Austin since 1987 and the pay scale has pretty much remained the same. I’d really like to see local musicians paid more money for their services.

What project/s are you currently working on?

We’ve been in residency every week at The Continental Club Gallery for over 5 years now which has really been one of the highlights of my music career. It’s a very unique situation for Austin and I’d love to keep this going for as long as possible. In addition to cultivating this weekly show, I’m currently working on a new recording for Church On Monday which I hope to release in early 2018. Additionally, I’ve got plans to record my jazz quintet as well as a duet project with some of my favorite pianists in Austin. Finally, I’d like to get a jazz concert series off the ground.

Who are your local musical influences?

Right now, my #1 influence is Dr. James Polk who plays organ in Church On Monday. The former writer, arranger, pianist and organist for Ray Charles, he’s also performed with a who’s who of jazz greats and is a constant inspiration both on and off the bandstand. He is truly a legendary Austin musician who still brings his A game every week at The Gallery. If you haven’t heard him then you haven’t heard Austin music.

On the record but off topic – what’s your favorite taco in Austin?

Amy and I moved into our first house on French Pl off of Manor Rd in 1994 and Mi Madre’s was right down the street. We’ve been friends with Aurelio and Rosa ever since and their #5 taco is no frills heaven. Ground beef and cheese with homemade salsa. Perfection.

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